Me, the Student and some big time boxers: The big blag
November 30, 2010 6 Comments
Being in the right place at the right time may be a well-worn cliché but it is one which still holds great relevance for all us aspiring journalists. Being on work experience as a massive story breaks, having a camera as you spot someone dropping a fire extinguisher off a roof or bumping into a drunken celebrity in a dirty backstreet bar – all of these kind of situations give us wannabe hacks a chance to make a name for ourselves. But being in the right place at the right time often isn’t enough.
It is how you use your chance that counts and often you need to be able to blag.
Whilst at University both myself and the Student had the chance to interview a fellow student who was also a young boxer for Great Britain. After what I believe was a hotly disputed rock, paper, scissors contest it was decided that he got the interview, I would take the pictures (still a little bitter, I’m not going to lie). So off we went, knowing in advance that this Olympic hopeful would be accompanied by his agent/PR/bloke in a suit who funnily enough had some shaving foam still on his face as we shook hands. Still it was nice of him to make the effort.
As the interview finished this agent began talking about his plans for the boxing world; both myself and the Student saw a prime chance for some blagging. And so after some slightly hyperbolic statements about our connections with the University’s sports people and really going to town on the fact that I edited the sports section of a ‘National’ newspaper we had press entry and ring side seats for the upcoming England vs Germany amateur boxing contest at Birmingham’s NIA arena.
I got to lean on the canvas with my very modest camera and lens whilst three professionals snapped away with far superior equipment to my own. Meanwhile the Student scribbled away in the seats behind me, sat next to some old pros from the reporting world casually filing copy over the phone. Did we feel out of place? Yes. Did it matter? No…
We had blagged our way into this position, walking the walk and talking the talk and now all we could do was enjoy the brilliant experience. Plus, it opened the door for more blagging….
After offering a few of my snaps to Mr Agent and the sweet talking of the Student we managed to score an invite to a far more high-profile gig. This time there were no amateurs or young upstarts. This time it was the professional debuts of Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale and fellow boxers Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders. This time we were in the press conference, amongst Sky Sports cameras and some big dogs of the boxing world. We got interviews with Degale and Gavin and some great snaps which you can see here.
Check out the old school dictaphone being used, now you can really tell we’re blagging it.
So there we were, in with the big boys, not just sports stars but we were part of the big media crowd and from what? Some inflated suggestions about how well connected we were, some blag about the publicity our articles would give and the offer of free photographs. The main reason it worked if I’m honest is because we were arrogant enough to believe what we were saying. We made it sound like our presence at these events would be doing this agent a favour when in fact we were getting to experience first hand sport reporting for very little effort.
Sadly our wonderful relationship with Mr agent and his boxing mates didn’t last; the conclusion of our acquaintance aided by my asking him for payment for my photography skills. But what a great journey it was, chuckling to ourselves the whole time about how lucky we were and how our cocky gamble had paid off. So next time you are in a position of possibility just blag. You never know you might just get an interview with an Olympic gold medallist for the portfolio.
What is your best blag? Managed to get into a major gig? Landed an interview with an A-list celeb?